by Hyung-Jin Kim
May 07, 2012
SEOUL, South Korea
South Korea has seized thousands of
smuggled drug capsules filled with powdered flesh from dead babies,
which some people believe can cure disease, officials said Monday.
The capsules were made in northeastern China from babies whose
bodies were chopped into small pieces and dried on stoves before
being turned into powder, the Korea Customs Service said.
Customs officials refused to say where the dead babies came from or
who made the capsules, citing possible diplomatic friction with
Beijing. Chinese officials ordered an investigation into the
production of drugs made from dead fetuses or newborns last year.
The customs office has discovered 35 smuggling attempts since August
of about 17,450 capsules disguised as stamina boosters, and some
people believe them to be a panacea for disease, the customs service
said in a statement.
The capsules of human flesh, however, contained
bacteria and other harmful ingredients.
The smugglers told customs officials they believed the capsules were
ordinary stamina boosters and did not know the ingredients or
Ethnic Koreans from northeastern China who now live in South Korea
were intending to use the capsules themselves or share them with
other Korean-Chinese, a customs official said. They were carried in
luggage or sent by international mail.
The capsules were all confiscated but no one has been punished
because the amount was deemed small and they weren't intended for
sale, said the customs official, who requested anonymity, citing
China's State Food and Drug Administration and its Health Ministry
did not immediately respond to questions faxed to them Monday.
Chinese media identify northeastern China as the source of such
products, especially Jilin province which abuts North Korea.
The Jilin food and drug safety agency is responsible for
investigating the trade of such remains there. Calls to the agency
and to the information office of Jilin's Communist Party were not
The South Korean customs agency began investigating after receiving
a tip a year ago.
No sicknesses have been reported from
ingesting the capsules.